About Mountain Trip

Born in Alaska in 1973, Mountain Trip is now one of the world’s outstanding mountain guide services, providing expert, professional trips while also offering an approachable, collaborative, and easygoing environment across all our programs.

An industry leader and AMGA Accredited Business, Mountain Trip offers the highest quality expeditions to big, remote mountains around the world. We are the only guide service in Colorado that can take you from the San Juan Mountains to the Seven Summits and are the longest continually-operating guide service on Denali, since 1976.

Starting as a small Alaskan mountaineering school in 1973 (check out our blog post about our 50+ years of history), we have grown and will continue to grow, but we’ll never offer any trips that we feel lack “soul.” Our guides are truly passionate about what they do and love to share their knowledge and expertise in the mountains, empowering our climbers with the skills they need to take on the challenge and adventure of expedition climbing. Mountain Trip can support you in reaching your goals, whether it’s summiting a peak, conquering a fear, or finding a deeper connection with the mountains. We love what we do and it shows.

As a company, we invest in resources and training opportunities for our guides, and we think that you will notice the difference this makes on our trips. Mountain Trip has always felt more like a family than a corporation, and this is a big reason why so many of our guides return year after year. As a result, our lead guides are among the most experienced and respected on Denali and beyond.

A love of wild places and a dedication to offering exceptional experiences led us to the small mountain town of Telluride, Colorado where our guides and staff live and breathe life in the mountains year-round. In Colorado and Utah, we offer summer rock climbing, via ferratas, technical peak ascents, and alpine trekking. Our winter programs include backcountry skiing, ice climbing, and avalanche safety courses. We also offer a variety of mountaineering courses in both Colorado and Alaska.

Many people ask, “what’s up with the logo?” Our founder, Gary Bocarde, drew this logo over fifty years ago and, with only a few small tweaks, we have remained faithful to it ever since. Something that sets us apart from other guide services is that we have always felt more like a family than a corporation, and this is a big reason why so many of our guests and guides return year after year. As a result, our lead guides are among the most experienced and respected in the industry, and our guests often pursue their climbing progressions with us, from Colorado 14ers to Alaska Range climbing to the Seven Summits.

We believe that this original logo exemplifies the authentic and genuine spirit of Mountain Trip, a company of climbers leading climbers up difficult mountains around the world. We think that you will notice the difference this makes on our trips. It’s been an incredible honor to have the privilege to share wild places with our guests and to act as stewards of our natural mountain resources across the globe. We would be thrilled to be your guides on your next big mountain expedition!

“The Man,” as we refer to him, was hand drawn by Gary Bocarde, the founder of Mountain Trip. We cannot confirm or deny that Gary based The Man on an illustration of how to rock climb up a chimney from a popular instructional book from the 1960’s, however, after he started using the logo, a friend asked Gary, a tall, swarthy guy with a prominent nose and robust mustache, why he had drawn himself? Gary swore he had not done so intentionally, and The Man has been the symbol of Mountain Trip’s laid back, approachable brand of professionalism ever since.

Mountain Trip is synonymous with Denali guiding. Born as a daydream of climbing big routes in Alaska, Gary started guiding on Denali in 1976 under the trade name of the climbing school he’d started three years earlier. When the National Park Service instituted a concession contract system, issuing 10-year contracts for guiding on the mountain in 1981, Mountain Trip was one of the original concessionaires.

Gary made us feel like family, so it is core to our beliefs that Mountain Trip should always feel more like a family and less like a business. Over the years, we have worked hard to grow that familial spirit, and it’s something we regularly receive positive comments about in post-expedition surveys. Guides who feel close bonds with one another will go the extra mile to support each other on the mountain. Guides who feel valued, respected, and supported will return season after season, fostering a spirit of mentorship and camaraderie.

Our logo is a daily reminder that we can do serious work with an air of levity.

As Gary would say, “Ciao babies!”

– The Mountain Trip Team

Mission Statement & Core Values

Mountain Trip is the premier source for providing climbers with experienced guides and the highest quality customer service in the industry. Our company goals are:

1. Everyone comes home safely.

2. Everyone has a great experience.

3. Everyone stands on the summit.

We will never sacrifice our first two goals for the sake of the third; however, by hiring, training, supporting and retaining the very best guides for the terrain in which they are guiding, we do a great job of helping climbers stand on top of their mountains.

We are climbers helping other climbers pursue goals that might otherwise not be possible. Our climbers and guides are our most important resources, and we work tirelessly to support everyone who climbs with us. We invite you to reach out and contact us at (970) 369-1153 or [email protected] to experience the Mountain Trip difference.

Experience is Paramount

Denali guides

This group of Mountain Trip guides at 11,200 feet on Denali have more than 120 collective trips up the mountain!

The National Park Service has established guidelines for who can lead commercial Denali expeditions. We think those official standards are a bit vague, as they require each team to “have at least one guide that has guided on Mount McKinley previously.” Additionally, we also feel that Denali is so different from other mountains that it demands a specialized skill set to safely and successfully guide it. Anyone can have an easy trip or two (or even three) on Denali and feel like he or she has a good grasp of how to guide the mountain. It’s not until you’ve seen the many faces of Denali that you truly gain the respect and skills to competently manage the constantly changing conditions that will be thrown at you.

All of our Lead Guides have guided a minimum of five Denali expeditions

This is merely our promise to you that we will continue to lead the way with the most experienced guides on Denali. As you research potential guide services, ask other outfitters what their official policies are for their guides’ Denali experience.

Mountain Trip is a small outfit with a family feel and we like it that way. We have grown and will continue to grow, but we’ll never offer any trips that we feel lack “soul.” Maybe we’ve watched too many surfing videos, but we honestly care about only offering trips that we feel have a healthy dose of soul. Obviously, this is subjective, but rest assured that if we cannot provide an expedition or course that has intrinsic value to its participants and provides it at the highest quality standard, we will not offer it. We love what we do and it shows.

Environmental Initiatives

Mountain Trip has made a commitment to Low Impact Practices in all aspects of our business. We travel to some of the most beautiful and pristine areas in the world, and do our best to minimize the physical and cultural footprints we leave behind. All of our guides are trained in the Leave No Trace code of ethics, and we strive to make other business choices that will help make our planet an even better place to live.

Mountain Trip firmly understands that the choices we make affect our footprint on this planet. We try to minimize our impact and help make our world a better place by purchasing healthy expedition food with an emphasis on organic products that use minimal packaging, and we pack out our trash on all of our expeditions. We support vendors who practice lower impact policies. Our Mountain Trip T-shirts are made from organic bamboo and cotton, and over the years, we have utilized a solar-powered web host to power our website.

Strategic Partnerships

Our commitment to environmentally sustainable practices is also reflected in our choice of companies with which we work closely. We have partnered with Black Diamond Equipment, a company that has instituted a chemical and fluid recycling and reusing program that has greatly reduced its effluent discharge. In addition, they began operating with their own wind and solar-generated power in 2007.

Our partnership with Stio has equipped Mountain Trip with all the clothing we need to keep our guides and our clients comfortable while ski touring the backcountry. Stio was founded to inspire connection with the outdoors through beautiful, functional products infused with mountain soul. They draw inspiration from their everyday immersion in life in Jackson Hole, WY, which includes days local rivers, trails and Teton summits. Technical performance, quality, and versatility are hallmarks you’ll find in every piece of Stio apparel, be it intended for epic alpine pursuits or the quieter moments of the mountain life.

Helping Others

Mountain Trip donates at least 2% of profits to Earth Friendly Organizations. Recipients of our support include the San Juan Riding Program, which offers riding therapy to folks with disabilities; the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program, which provides skiing and other sport opportunities to people with disabilities; the Colorado Avalanche Information Center; and the Telluride Valley Floor Project. One of our favorite causes is Skills For Living And Learning, a non-profit school for special needs kids in southwest Colorado, to whom we have donated more than $20,000 in recent years. More recently, we have begun supporting the Just For Kids Foundation, a non-profit based in Telluride, CO that serves children in our local area.

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